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[Editorial] State of Art Airport, Third Country Style Exorbitant Fare

[Editorial] State of Art Airport, Third Country Style Exorbitant Fare

Posted July. 10, 2001 09:38,   


One will be proud of him/herself, if he/she visits the Inchon International Airport. The airport, which is in no way inferior to any other international airports with its massive scale conveniently equipped state of art facilities, seem to be symbolizing the power of Korea, a rising country.

However, when one exits the flawless building, there is the African or Central-South American third-world countries style `exorbitant fare` waiting. Although taxis are being operated without running the cab-fare indicator, it is difficult to detect policemen or employees of the airport supervising the taxis’ illegal operation.

It is told that there are taxis asking for 100 dollars (130,000 won) to drive to downtown Seoul. Since the airfare from Fukuoka, Japan is about 160,000 won, there is not much difference between the international airfare and the taxi fare from the airport to the downtown.

Although there are various bus routes during the daytime, the problems take place at late nights and early in the mornings. Since there are not many buses except some popular routes during that time, there are no other options other than taxis for the arriving passengers.

After waiting several hours, taxis from Seoul, Inchon, and Kyungkee naturally charge the waiting fee to the passengers. Needless to say, they ask for twice or three times of the regular fare, but there is not a single sign that informs the passengers to report those overcharging taxis.

It is not right to neglect those exorbitant fares at the national gateway airport damaging the first image of the country. If the employees of the airport corporation cannot control the overcharging taxis, a cooperative crackdown with the police should be carried out.

If the concern is for taxis not entering the airport due to the regular fare, the government should consider alternative measures, such as revival of the airport taxis, or merit system for taxis entering the airport.

To equip with the international competitiveness, the Inchon International Airport must solve the traffic problem with priority. The toll (6,100 won) of the airport express way constructed by private funds is too expensive compared to the consumers price level. The express way constructed by the Korea Highway Corporation charges only 1,100 won for the similar distance. The railway between the airport and the Seoul Station, which began its construction last March, will be completed in 2008. Since the railway is being developed with the private funds as well, the fare will also be expensive. It is hard to understand the government to subsidize regional cities’ subway construction project, which neither is urgent nor necessary, while insisting on private funds to construct the railroad connecting to the national gateway.

For the Inchon International Airport to leap as a hub airport in Northeast Asia, they first have to trim down the access cost to the airport.